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Today we chat with Matt Masters & The Ironwood; discuss how students are coping with a COVID graduation; what’s happening in the city this weekend & more.
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FRIDAY, MAY 28
Whoa, it's the weekend already? And what a whirlwind week it's been with four newsletters under our belts and many more to come. We've been getting a lot of valuable and positive feedback from YOU this week and we are soaking it all in.

Now that we know Alberta's restrictions will be easing up soon, today we have a story about how musicians have been navigating the pandemic so far. It's cool, but we can't wait to get back to enjoying live music the good ol' way!


— Krista Sylvester, Reporter

Matt Masters was singing the blues when the pandemic started, but he’s now singing a different tune due to the success of Curbside Concerts.
Calgary country singer Matt Masters was singing the blues when the pandemic started, but he’s now singing a different tune due to the success of Curbside Concerts. 📷 Curbside Concerts / Submitted
YYC SINGS 🎶
‘Music will always find a way’

BY KRISTA SYLVESTER

Local musicians band together to pivot and perform despite the challenges their industry has faced throughout the pandemic.


Local musicians may not be performing for sold-out stadiums and packed dance floors these days, but they are finding other ways to play and engage with their audiences — from a distance.


And that’s music to our ears! Since the pandemic threw the city's music scene a massive curveball, Calgarians are thirsty for live entertainment like never before.

When Calgary-based country singer Matt Masters found he and his wife were out of work due to the pandemic in early 2020, they needed to get creative. Little did they know how quickly Curbside Concerts would take off and how popular these intimate performances would be a year later.

Initially, Masters just wanted to pay the bills.

"But it grew and grew and grew, and suddenly we found ourselves dealing with hundreds and hundreds of bookings," he adds.

CURBSIDE CONCERTS ARE ALL THE RAGE!

After bringing Curbside Concerts to the curbs of people across Canada over 600 times in 2020, Masters expects this year will grow even more as the pandemic rages on. Now boasting over 100 artists on the roster, including southern Alberta options Tim Tamashiro, Red Hot Hayseeds, and more, Masters expects over 1,000 bookings this year.

Masters believes the curbside concept will continue beyond the pandemic.

"People love that you get to listen to live music with the people they love most, at the time they want it and the place they want it," Masters says, adding it has had a positive impact on mental health. "It’s really great to see the smiles on faces."

WHAT ABOUT LIVE MUSIC VENUES...

No other industry has been gutted as deep as bars and restaurants that rely on live music — and the Ironwood Stage & Grill is no exception, says owner Pat MacEntire.

They’ve had to get a little creative as exemplified by the IronWindow Serenade Series, where musicians perform inside the pub while people can watch and listen via a speaker outside the window. It’s free and most importantly, safe.

"I knew the audiences would love it, but one thing I didn’t anticipate is that the artists would love it just as much," he says, adding that while the bar doesn’t actually make any money back for the window concerts, it’s their way of giving back.

"Music will always find a way; we will always find a way to present it and musicians will always find a way to play it."

Calgary singer Amy Bishop is grateful for the opportunity to perform in the IronWindow Serenade Series and says finding a way to be seen and heard is vital for her well-being.

"It can be online, it can be through a plexiglass barrier, it can be through the front window at the Ironwood singing for the people who pass by," Bishop says. "It is so nice to see actual people, in person, singing along and dancing. Smiling and clapping. That is something I have missed terribly during the pandemic."

HIGHLIGHT REEL
🛴
E-scooters are rolling back into Calgary: The city wrapped up a 16-month pilot project, opting to keep the popular E-scooters permanently, but those flashy Lime scooters won’t be back. The city chose Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility to provide the city with 750 scooters each.

💉 Alberta’s first drive-through vaccine clinic coming to NE Calgary: The new clinic will open in early June and is designed to help increase vaccination rates in the northeast.

🤠 Calgary Stampede has officially cancelled 2021 Rangeland Derby chuckwagons: This is due to safety concerns. They also announcing that Paul Brandt won't be performing at the Grandstand either.

📫 Your property tax bill is in the mail: Tax bills for more than 530,000 residential and non-residential properties are being mailed this week.  Property tax is due Wednesday, June 30. A late payment penalty of 3.5% will be applied to any unpaid portion of property taxes on July 1.

Photo of two young reporters standing side by side smiling.
Alberta students won't get to graduate like this — the old fashioned way — this year due to pandemic restrictions. 📷 Pixabay
GRADUATION 🎓
No dress, no banquet, no dances, no ceremonies

BY KRISTA SYLVESTER

"I feel cheated" — Parents and students grapple with yet another COVID-impacted grad.


Stacie Stanich has waited for this day for 17 years.


To watch her first-born daughter, Tyra, walk the stage in her gown and graduation cap, and more importantly, hug her after she collects her high school diploma.

But for the second year in a row, Grade 12 graduation isn’t what it used to be, disrupted by COVID restrictions.

Instead, guardians, parents, friends, grandparents — all have to watch from their own homes on a virtual stream. It‘s nobody's fault, Stacie knows, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

"I feel cheated. It’s just different. It’s not what I pictured," Stacie says.

"I know it has to do with COVID, but I wish there was a better alternative for parents and guardians who supported these kids through the good times and the bad. We cheered them on through school to reach adulthood, and we want to cheer them on as they get handed their diploma, too."

Stacie plans to stream the graduation ceremony tonight flanked by her mother and her younger daughter, but it’s just not the same.

Her daughter Tyra says graduating Grade 12 is a big milestone for her and she’s disappointed her family can’t be a part of it in person.

"Not being able to have my family see my success upfront is frustrating because I spent the last 13 years of my life working to get to this point," Tyra says.

"Not only is it frustrating knowing my family won’t get the full experience, but we are also limited to how many classmates we are allowed to officially walk the stage with. I would have liked to have been able to graduate with my entire 2021 class."

For all high schools in the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), it was decided no formal banquets, dances, or ceremonies would take place in the schools in light of AHS and CBE health and safety guidelines. The Calgary Catholic school board decided the same.

"It is disappointing that once again, we are unable to provide a more typical graduation experience for students and their families. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments and the grit students have demonstrated in graduating under such challenging circumstances," says CBE spokesperson Megan Geyer.

For her part, Stacie says she will make the best of it.

"I don’t know what time she is set to walk the stage, so we will be watching the whole ceremony. Hopefully, I don’t have to go to the bathroom and miss it," she laughs.

COVID UPDATE
COVID UPDATE
Calgary
  • 209 new / 4,15077 active / 91,820 total
  • 1 new death / 667 deaths total / 218 in hospital / 57 in ICU
Alberta (updates)
  • 513 new cases / 10,017 active / 225,937 total
  • 1 new death / 2,199 deaths / 213,721 recoveries
  • 2,615,747 total vaccines administered
  • Vaccinations: 50.4% partial (1 shot) / 8.1% full (2 shots)
CALGARY ROUNDUP
🍴  FOOD
Pink Door Pizza is featuring their 8" pizzas for $8 everyday during lockdown. With the recent reopen plan it looks like the days of $8 pizza are numbered.

🙏  SUPPORT
The Alberta Summer Box, filled entirely with goods made by local small-businesses, is now available exclusively at select Sobeys, Safeway, and IGA stores.

❤️  LOCAL LOVE
Travel back in time at The Calgary Zoo when you visit the latest addition to their Prehistoric Park, ‘Dinosaurs: Awakened.’ This new exhibit opens today.

👀  HAVE YOU HEARD?
It’s time to slow down in the neighbourhood! As of May 31, 2021 default speed limits are officially going down to 40 km/h unless otherwise posted.

Illustration of a wifi-beacon with text, bringing the local news to your inbox, every weekday.

Watch your favourite local musicians performing behind glass at the iconic Ironwood Bar in Inglewood. This weekend catch ‘Howlin’ Pete Cormier’ and ‘The Chosen Two.’
Where: Ironwood Bar and Grill - 1229 9th Avenue SE
Cost: Free

Grab your groceries for the week as you shop local farms, bakers, brewers, and specialty foods, and browse your favourite local makers and artisans while you're at it — every Saturday starting May 29.
Where: C-Space - 1721 29 Avenue SW

Join the international and local community online and walk toward a world free of MS. Walk solo or create a team with your family cohort and choose where you walk.
Where: Anywhere

Get a little local retail therapy as you enjoy shopping Calgary’s famed makers and artisans, and snacking on delicious Food Truck treats. Masks are mandatory.
Where: 200 Barclay Parade SW

To celebrate the 18th Calgary Underground Film Festival enjoy watching summer screenings from the comforts of your car. Don’t forget to bring popcorn!
Where: Crossroads Market - 1235 26 Avenue SE
Cost: $35 per car

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
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